Not sure where I first found Orion Magazine - read a blurb somewhere and subscribed. Branding itself as “Amerca’s Finest Environmental Magazine” I’d have to say it lives up to that billing quite well. It’s also a terrific legacy project (more on that below), that’s right up my alley since my legacy interests are focused on environmental preservation, conservation, sustainability and clean renewable energy technologies. But that’s why a particular article caught my attention recently. It’s by biologist Sandra Steingraber, entitled “The Whole Fracking Enchilada”, and I it hope catches the attention of many people in generations currently alive and able (and willing) to respond – for the sake of future ones.
Here’s an excerpt from Barbara’s article – hopefully you’ll see why it got my attention:
“THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS can be viewed as a tree with two trunks. One trunk represents what we are doing to the planet through atmospheric accumulation of heat-trapping gasses. Follow this trunk along and you find droughts, floods, acidification of oceans, dissolving coral reefs, and species extinctions.
The other trunk represents what we are doing to ourselves and other animals through the chemical adulteration of the planet with inherently toxic synthetic pollutants. Follow this trunk along and you find asthma, infertility, cancer, and male fish in the Potomac River whose testicles have eggs inside them.
At the base of both these trunks is an economic dependency on fossil fuels, primarily coal (plant fossils) and petroleum (animal fossils). When we light them on fire, we threaten the global ecosystem. When we use them as feedstocks for making stuff, we create substances—pesticides, solvents, plastics—that can tinker with our subcellular machinery and the various signaling pathways that make it run.”
It seems there is much to be done if we are to shift this planet and its people (not to mention other species) to a truly healthy, life-enhancing environment. We must move away from our dependency on fossil fuels, and the products of the petrochemical industy and era. Many legacy level projects could contribute to that end, from the successful women and men of the planet looking for what’s next and ready to give back in some way – large or small – and who are looking for a subject to wrap that ambition around.
As for the legacy that is the magazine, it started as the Orion Nature Quarterly in June 1982 as a program of the Myrin Institute, a private operating foundation based in New York. Later, the magazine operation move to The Orion Society, an independent nonprofit, which also conducted additional programming, moved the operation to Massachusetts and obtained 501(c)3 designation for its ongoing work. The magazine has lots of great topics, no advertising, an easily accessible online version and a very reasonable subscription price. They basically want people to read the content.
The publication’s first Editor-in-Chief, George Russell clearly illuminated Orion’s underlying values, which stand today: “It is Orion’s fundamental conviction that humans are morally responsible for the world in which we live, and that the individual comes to sense this responsibility as he or she develops a personal bond with nature.”
Hear, hear. Almost 30 years later, his words couldn’t ring any truer. Seems we need to go another direction … very soon. Will you be one of the enlightened leaders who helps turn this bus, and all of us bozos on it, toward a better destination?
I hope so. All the best to you, Dolly